How perfect to end the month’s theme of Timelines on Halloween with a topic of Scary Times. But if you are a senior in high school or a senior in college you are facing scary times. There is enough uncertainty in the world to create plenty of anxiety in those who are in pivotal transition points in their lives.
Actually, anyone who is trying to make decisions about college and career direction is facing scary times. But you can reduce the stress by arming yourself with tools that enhance your decision making and place yourself in better positions for opportunities.
In a time when information is key to success, resources can be your most important tools. Here are some key resources for you to pay attention to regularly:
1. Athletes in any sport – www.collegesportstrack.com – a terrific resource for understanding the college sports recruiting experience and communicating with coaches to secure your opportunity. Hans writes a great blog with specific how-to information. Bookmark it!
2. College Bound Students and Parents – www.sat.org – a must for registering for the SAT, pacing your self with a prep program and usually the first indicator of college cost increases. An underused resource. Bookmark it!
3. Anyone thinking about career opportunities – www.bls.gov – a wonderful resource for looking at trends of jobs, sectors of employment and demographic availability of employment. Another underused resource. Bookmark it!
Scary times can be made less frightening when you arm yourself with effective tools. Knowing your options, how to manage them and knowing more about yourself enables you to make more effective decisions and capitalize on opportunities. Need a great resource to learn more about you, choosing a college, college major or your career direction? Contact me.
Depending on where you are in your career direction process, there are three things you should have on your radar screen.
High School Students:
- A calendar with SAT/ACT test dates for which you will register and a prep plan that fits that timeline
- Timely notification to those you are requesting a letter of reference
- A timeline that identifies application deadlines for colleges you are applying
- Attend job fairs on your campus even as a freshman to get a feel for the events
- Get your resume’ in order or sent out even as early as September of senior year
- Even as a freshman you can begin preparing yourself with examples of your leadership, problem solving or other desirable attributes for employers
Career Changers/Job Changers/Those Re-entering the Workforce:
- Identify a target date to be in that new position and work backward at least 6 months. Currently the average worker spends 19-28 weeks in a job search
- Along with your resume’, have a sheet of references prepared and make sure you have notified the individuals of your intent to identify them as a reference
- Identify when applications need to ne submitted in order to meet your timeline for securing that new position
Planning and organization are effective tools for success. They are also part of natural ability patterns and therefore easier for some people and not for others. These timeline considerations should be a part of your organization as you plan your college and career path. Want to know more about your own natural abilities? Contact me.
“The biggest mistake people make in life is not making a living doing what they most enjoy.” Malcolm S. Forbes
”Find your passion, whatever it may be. Become it, and let it become you and you will find great things happen FOR you, TO you and BECAUSE of you.” Alan Armstrong
Both of these men have lived lives dedicated to their passions, using their talents and establishing careers that are recognized by millions. Their success may be measured by some people by the money they have made or their impact on the world. But most important is their own perception of their lives. In sharing their quotes we get a glimpse of what living their passions has meant to them.
As I write this blog in July of 2011, the unemployment rate is sitting at 9.2 percent leaving millions of people without jobs, disconnected from careers and questioning their direction. But that is not the only alarming figure. In recent articles, figures are being reported that 60-75 percent of workers dislike what they do for a living. I say, “Life is too short not to be happy in your life’s work.” What are you doing to assess your talents, skills, passions and direction?
Do you remember the learning to count worksheets you did in kindergarten and first grade that instructed you to connect the dots from 1-10 and in so doing you created a picture of something? Well, connecting the dots of passion, skill and ability can help you create a masterpiece in life. Creating the best you is about connecting all of the dots. Need help? Click here to contact me.
George Bernard Shaw once said, “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” I would never argue with Mr. Shaw, but I would certainly modify and apply his quote to the current college and career market and say this,
“College isn’t about finding yourself; it is about understanding yourself and creating your best life.”
That being said, there are two questions that follow: Why isn’t college about finding yourself and how does one better understand them self and create a “best life”?
Twenty years ago, students could go off to college with no specific career goal and spend four years finding themselves while acquiring a degree in the process. But in the last twenty years, the cost of college has increased 163% and the average household income has increased only 23% according to College Board and the National Bureau of Labor Statistics. It is no longer “affordable” to go off and “find” yourself at college.
Today, understanding yourself and creating your “best life” means investing in yourself. Getting a college degree or attending a trade school are investments in yourself. But those investments need to be directed. Would you simply hand your savings over to an individual and say, “Do whatever you like”? No! You would give them a directive to be aggressive or conservative with your investment. So in creating your best life, you need to have the tools and the plan just like a professional who invests your savings uses tools and has a plan to help you achieve your financial goals.
You can choose to continue on a path of uncertainty or you can choose to direct your path, invest in your future, and create your best life. Creating that life doesn’t happen by accident or by default. It happens because you make informed choices about how to spend your valuable time and resources. That investment may include a career direction specialist, use of specific tools that measure natural abilities, interests and values, and guidance by a professional in creating a plan that helps to define and direct your life goals.
Creating the best you requires an investment. What are you willing to invest in yourself or a loved one to be able to define and direct a career direction? Contact me if you would like to know more, or make a comment below if you have had a great experience Creating the Best You!